Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.

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10 Promotional Product Trends Defining the New Decade


Straight off the Floor of PPAI’s 2020 EXPO

Earlier this month at ASI Orlando, we got a glimpse of some buzz-worthy promotional products making their debut. This included everything from 100% recycled clothing to a sticker that tells you when it’s time to re-apply sunscreen. I mean, seriously—isn’t it so wonderful to live in the 21st century? That was the first trade show of the year, and we left Orlando pumped to see what PPAI’s 2020 show in Las Vegas had in store for us. Needless to say, it was one for the books.

2020 PPAI Expo Product Trends

We noticed a few parallels between 2019 and 2020 trends and we’re hoping this constancy may help steer brands towards the right promotional products–if it’s already making a splash in multiple spots, likely you’re onto a branded premium with serious staying power. Without further ado, here are the top ten:

1. Sustainability

Sustainability is the new wave, and vendors demonstrated incredible out-of-the-box thinking with their eco-friendly items at this year’s show.

RainAlertz Umbrella Now uses paper vs. Plastic sleeves which read "We Care"

Most notable in our minds was the change from using a plastic umbrella sleeve to a kraft paper gift sleeve on all RainAlertz ™ umbrellas. One side of the sleeve will read “We Care”. The change will be officially rolled out on all stock by February 1, 2020 and we’re thrilled to be sourcing a brand that shares our same values. #ePromosCares

Another trend everyone’s talking about? Wheat plastic. It’s made with the husk of wheat plants which is typically tossed after harvesting. People are all over this because the husk is now being recycled and refashioned into a form of plastic that is more biodegradable.

Useful items such as wheat utensil sets, are a great alternative to plastic flatware – and perfect to travel with or even leave in the office. Pair it with this 16 oz. travel mug and you’re golden.

Wheat Utensils Kit

Our 2018 and 2019 trends featured the Basecamp® brand specifically because of their efforts to give back a portion of proceeds to wounded veterans. This year, “Sustainability” and “Give-Back” seem to go hand-in-hand, as even more companies are putting an emphasis on social responsibility. One company in particular we’re digging: Miir. Mimimalistic in design, yet functional, sustainable (and gorgeous!), every Miir item comes with a unique Give Code ™ . Recipients are able to use the code to see which exact initiative – whether it be for clean-water, strong communities or healthy environments – the sale of that item helped to support.

Miir products

As your clients catch on to this widespread idea of living a more sustainable lifestyle, they’ll be searching for ways to make the transition in their own lives—and with these branded promotional products, you’ll be able to deliver.

2. Wireless Tech Does Double-Duty

Wires are so 2019. Gone are the days of untangling our headphones and tripping over our phone chargers. It seems every item in the tech world is wireless and created to perform two functions at once—and we’re so on board.

Examples? Think water bottles with built-in speakers and chargers. Mouse pads that double as chargers, with a spot for your pen, of course. And this is just the beginning. Wireless tech is it.

3. AirPod® Everything

When was the last time you saw someone pass you on the street that didn’t have an AirPod in at least one ear? Now, brands are taking advantage of this trend and capitalizing on its popularity. Imprint your logo on one of these cases or phone holders (with a spot for the pods) and you’re sure to catch the eyes of the “tech-inspired”.

Custom Airpod holders

4. Inverted Umbrellas

Inverted umbrellas

Scratching your head? Don’t. They’re the newest innovation in the rain gear sphere, and they’re now available in a pocket size version. The inverted design is wind-resistant so you can finally stop worrying about broken umbrellas on particularly windy days. How you ask? Because inverted umbrellas close away from you (as opposed to down, which you are accustomed to) so they keep all the rain inside and prevent you from getting wet.

5. Wellness & Self-Care

The wellness and self-care trends have been emerging over the last few years and now they’re making their way into the promotional product space. Now, cosmetic, athletic and health food companies have more the opportunities to reach their customers than ever before.

At ASI Orlando, we discovered the “Sunburn Alert Sticker” which, when applied with sunscreen on the body, changes color to let you know it’s time to reapply. Crazy, right?

Some additional trends in the wellness space, which were a bit more “outside the box” than traditional wellness are Blue Light Reduction Eyeglasses, which help the wearer reduce eye fatigue and blurry vision caused by staring at computer screens for oh-so-long. Also popular are lip balm and sunscreen duos, rashguards and fitness bands. Yes, please.

6. Camo Makes a Comeback

camo sweatshirt

Another huge trend that’s trickling its way into diverse product design is Camo. We’ve seen it pop up in unexpected places, such as on water bottles, coasters, stress balls, pens, and more, and not just in traditional green and brown tones—think pink, jewel or muted tones. The trend is only getting bigger, and this is a wonderful opportunity for companies to promote their business while staying on-brand.

7. Total Transparency…

Got nothing to hide? Then you’re ready for the clear bag trend, which is yet again, huge. Last year we saw an explosion of trendy clear bags to cater to the many clear bag policies at stadiums and schools. New for this year? Mesh. Some schools are now allowing students to carry these mesh see-through bags in addition to clear, which poses as a wonderful promo opportunity for brands targeting student, millennial and Gen Z audiences.

mesh and clear bags

8. All Things Travel

As the shift from valuing “things” to valuing “experiences” increases, so do all things travel when it comes to promotional gifts. Everything from travel cocktail sets to packing cubes to updated garment bags are hot this year. One brand in particular that caught our eye? Osprey®. Known for their “All Mighty” Guarantee, “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge—whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday.”

Founded in 1974 when owner Mike Pfotenhauer began hand-sewing made-to-order backpacks for the hikers and travelers that would pass by his home in Santa Cruz, Osprey continues to provide some of the most comfortable, best-fitting backpacks out there. And now, they’re brandable. Stay tuned for more on this trend…

9. Outdoor

Koozie cooler fanny pack

Everything from blankets and flannels to hammocks and packing sets are making waves this year. Something so simple, yet sparked our interest in this category? This Koozie® Can Cooler/Fanny Pack. Not only have fanny packs come back into style recently, but this particular one takes the trend to the next level: it has an attached cooler! Hunting, fishing, tailgating, you name it. This is a winner.

10. Tie Dye and all Things Retro

The past few decades have brought on some very memorable trends, many of which are still very much alive in 2020. Tie Dye is everywhere. Scrunchies have made a comeback, as have cropped Champion® sweatshirts and the classic Puma® zip-up (an updated version is available as well!) Even old-school games like Jenga® and Corn Hole are back in trend, as 70% of millennials are reviving table top games. Fun!

Finding the right product is only half the battle. Contact us, the Promo Know-How People, to promote your brand in a meaningful way this year.

Want to see and experience more promotional product trends from the PPAI Expo? Check out our album on Facebook.

Looking for an insiders perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.


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First Look: Top Promotional Product Picks of 2020


We’re back from the first trade-show of 2020, ASI Orlando. Always an exciting two days in our $25 billion industry, we eagerly sifted through the aisles filled with the always seen, always loved promos to bring you a first look at some of the buzz-worthy showstopper’s we’re banking on this year. Listed in no particular order, here are some of our favorites:

Sunburn Alert

This is a must-have for all brands. Apply sunscreen to both skin and sticker. Sticker will change color when it’s time to re-apply. Works all day. Ingenious.

The Attention Grabber

Lit up logos caught our eye with this 22 oz. bottle, which lights up a laser-engraved logo when lifted. Wow factor guaranteed.

MopToppers®

A best seller across all industries, these screen-cleaning cuties are sure to brighten up your day. New to the line are the thumbs-up version and the “glitzy” version. We couldn’t resist the lipstick.
Glitzy Moptoppers

The Lead-less Pencil that Keeps Going and Going…

Made from aluminum, this puppy can write for up to 10 miles! That certainly makes for a good conversation starter. If only Ernest Hemingway could see us now…

Picasso Aluminum pencil

The Ultimate Ice Breaker

Trade show badge ribbons. Customize responsibly.
Trade Show Badge Ribbons.

The Garment/Duffle

Practical perfection, this KAPSTON™ item is a traveling professional’s dream.

OrigAudio™, The Signature Collection.

The whole line is so spectacular it was hard to choose a favorite or decide which would be the biggest hit. Our guess: either the flask or the games kit, equipped with playing cards, dice and dominoes.

Custom Drink Coasters

Entertainment built in. So simple, yet so brilliant, this field goal, with mini football “flickers”, is just one idea to get your juices flowing. Available in 4″ round or square the possibilities are endless. Customize both sides so players know how to thank you.
built in field goal and mini flick footballs

District Apparel

District ® Re-Tee ™ hits home for us since we’ve been talking sustainability non-stop. These comfy tee’s are made from 100% recycled materials and reclaimed fabrics and are never re-dyed.

How District Re-Tee's are made

A Snacker’s Dream

Encourage healthy snacking with this “prep & chill” cooler. Comes with 6 containers and an ice pack, this is the ultimate lunch box. Added bonus: There’s a mesh side pocket for a reusable water bottle. Enjoy!
the ultimate lunch box with containers and an ice box

Last but not least: Custom shoes.

Well, because you can.

There you have it. A fresh look at some of the hottest new and notable promotional products for 2020.

Love these items and can’t wait to have them? Get in touch. We’re proud to be your trusted partner for all things promo. Stay tuned for takeaways from our next big show, the PPAI Expo, in Las Vegas next week. It will be fun to compare them to 2019 trends.

Looking for an insiders perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.

Interested in keeping up to date on all things ePromos?  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest! 



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4 Ways January’s Product of the Month Will Keep Your Clients’ Resolutions on...


With 2020 approaching faster than expected, we’re all starting to think about New Year’s resolutions to focus on. Some ideas topping our list are living a more eco-conscious lifestyle and reducing our plastic waste – two resolutions that just so happen to perfectly coincide with January’s Product of the month: the Stainless-Steel Collapsible Straw!

Not only are these reusable straws the perfect incentive to get going with green living, but they also encourage other resolutions that may top the list, such as seeking additional social connections, improving one’s health, saving money, and more.

The wire brush included with the straw makes cleaning a breeze, and the handy carrying case protects it from germs no matter where you take it. Plus, the removable silicone tip makes every sip a comfortable sip for any beverage of your choosing. And the best part? It’s completely collapsible, so it takes up minimal space.

You can even adorn the carrying case with your company’s name or logo. Since everyone needs a straw at some point, it’s the perfect promo product to get your brand out there.

Keep reading to see how these straws can be your tokens of motivation in the new year!

For the Person Who Wants to be More Eco-Conscious

In 2019, the green living trend exploded as people (and even businesses) adopted more sustainable practices that focused on less: producing less waste and garbage, creating fewer carbon emissions, minimizing material possessions, and more.

Although this trend took off quickly and may seem like a fad, we don’t see it disappearing anytime soon. If you’re looking to live a more mindful lifestyle in 2020, these stainless-steel straws are perfect to kickstart your efforts to create less plastic waste.

Next time you dine out with your coworkers and order an iced coffee, make sure you’ve got this reusable straw in tow so you can sip and save the world at the same time.

For the Person Who Wants to Drink More Water

Since most of us are constantly on the go, we don’t always remember to sip on H2O between errands and obligations – and some of us forget our water bottle entirely. However, this straw is so practical and on-trend you won’t be able to leave the house without a full cup. You’ll be sipping on and refilling your water more than ever before. Cheers to a resolution you can (finally…) keep!

For the Person Who Wants to Make New Friends

Let us repeat – reusable steel straws are IN! Along with cloth grocery bags, rinse-and-repeat-use straws are popular sustainable items quickly becoming essentials for many.

If you’re looking to strike up more conversations in 2020, get yourself a reusable straw – who knows, you might meet someone at the gym, in the grocery line, or at work who has one too! Or even better, you may inspire someone else to take up the eco-friendly trend. Who knew that something as simple as a straw could broaden your network?

For the Person Who Wants to Save Money

Using plastic straws every day is not only wasting plastic and causing pollution but also wasting your money. Although straws don’t cost much, it can add up quickly, and every cent counts when you’re trying to be a better money manager.

And since stainless steel straws are reusable, it makes sense to invest in something that’ll provide long term value and return (rather than a plastic straw you’ll throw away).

So whether your clients want to save the world with each sip, amp-up their H2O intake, or make some new friends in 2020, our Stainless Steel Collapsible Straw will  help them kick their resolutions into gear. Every little action and effort counts! Happy Gifting!

Looking for an insiders perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.

Interested in keeping up to date on all things ePromos?  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest! 


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Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year: Classic and Cozy for Promos


Each year, Pantone names a “color of the year,” which encapsulates the year’s trends, political state, emerging technology, and more – and this year was quite a year.

With an eye on new beginnings and an end to what, for many, was a crazy year, Pantone’s vice president, Laurie Pressman, said her team honed in on colors that provided a sense of familiarity, reassurance, and hope for the future. And where they landed? Pantone’s 2020 color of the year, 19-4052 Classic Blue.

As a serene, classic tone, this hue is super easy on the eyes and super familiar – the perfect shade to make us feel cozy and soothe any end-of-year uncertainties. And, with that goal in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our faves in this on-trend shade. Go peacefully into the new year with any one of them…

For Your Clients

Block-out any storms that 2020 may bring with this great pattern-changing umbrella. When the umbrella gets wet, blue raindrops appear on the top. Our customers love this item – and with an umbrella, you really can’t go wrong.

Another great option – promote the fact that you’re in the know by introducing Pantone’s 2020 color with a custom candy item (request all blue, to make your statement pop)

For the Earth

In 2019, we saw a huge emphasis on environmentally-friendly practices, sustainability, and the benefits of green living – trends that will surely trickle over into 2020 and hopefully into decades to come.

Reusable straws are perfect for reducing waste and keeping those plastic straws out of our oceans and landfills. Choose from six vibrant colors (our favorite is blue, of course), and tote them along to dinner or on a coffee date in their convenient carrying case.

If you want to take your eco-conscious practices even further, consider these Triple Insulated Wine Tumblers. Drinking wine and saving the world? Yes, PLEASE. Its triple-insulated design keeps any beverage hot for 12 hours and cold for 24, and its spill-resistant lid will ensure no beverage takes a tumble at your next party. Brand yours in the classic blue hue and sit back knowing recipients will be showcasing your company all season.

For the Office

Taking notes and writing task lists at work can be overwhelming – except when you’ve got a peaceful classic blue pen in hand. Give your employees, clients and friends the gift of tranquility this year with this a promotional pen. Extra points for one with a stylus or laser – double the function, double the fun (and increase the chances it will be their favorite).

Emphasize privacy with a webcam cover that fits most desktop computers, laptops, or TVs. Bonus: not only do they protect privacy, they also shield webcams from dust, dirt, and other damaging elements. Many available in a classic blue, they provide the ultimate peace of mind on every level.

On the Go

Let’s face it – if our phones die, we panic. Never run the risk of a dead battery with our powerbanks and chargers. Perfect for commuting, road trips, or even as a back-up during a power outage, this lithium-ion rechargeable power bank will always come to the rescue when your clients need a charge. Its space-conscious design also makes it convenient to take along in a purse, backpack, briefcase, or even your pocket!

So, as 2019 comes to a close and we go from Living Coral to Classic Blue, brand your business in Pantone’s color of the year knowing it will be a great one!

Looking for the perfect gift in the perfect color? Get in touch with our expert team to explore Classic Blue premiums – and more.

Looking for an insiders perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.

Interested in keeping up to date on all things ePromos?  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest! 


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A Month of Giving: #ePromosCares


We’re a proud supporter of #GivingTuesday, an annual day of giving projected to raise more than $500 million for charity in 2019. Through our #ePromosCares initiative, we once again named November a “Giving Month” for our team and spearheaded several initiatives to take a company-wide approach to charitable giving.

ePromos Supports Giving Tuesday

The main focus for 2019: The Tanner’s Team Foundation.

 

The Power of Tanner’s Team

 

Roughly 11,060 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer in the US each year, putting families in a devastating position as they try to maintain a sense of “normalcy” while battling the financial and emotional strain that comes with these heartbreaking diagnoses.

The Fuls family of Minnesota experienced this traumatic situation firsthand and, after losing their 11-year-old son Tanner to a form of pre-leukemia known as Myelodysplastic Syndrome in 2010, decided to do something about it. They launched the Tanner’s Team Foundation with a clear goal: to alleviate the financial strain placed on families whose children have life-threatening illnesses.

Julie and NateTanner’s Team has directed more than $334,000 in grants to 312 families in 45 Minnesota counties since its inception. One of those families is the Gray family – their son Nate was diagnosed with lymphoma at age 5. His mother, Julie, is part of the ePromos family and we are humbled to be able to give back to this incredible organization this year.

In addition to our fundraiser which generated over $5,000, ePromos has awarded Tanner’s Team $500 in free promotional products as part of our ePromos for Good program. This coming Summer they will be able to use these products to promote their 10th anniversary.

 

Promotional Products Education Foundation

 

PPEF ScholorshipsOn December 3, our team contributed a 50% increase over last year to the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) – an industry scholarship fund that helps underprivileged students access a college education. We’re proud to support this industry initiative – PPEF is funded by Promotional Products Association International – and, through our donation, to support tomorrow’s future leaders and innovators.

 

The Cupboard

 

The Dorit & Ben J. Genet Cupboard is a kosher food pantry serving seniors and families in need in Broward County, Florida. One of the unique features of The Cupboard is the ability for Goodman Family Services clients to freely select kosher food items they want, rather than to be given food items they did not chose.“Shopping is arranged by appointment to maintain the highest levels of privacy and volunteers make deliveries to home-bound seniors and Holocaust survivors,” said GJFS Chief Executive Officer Jacob Schreiber. ePromos donated over $250 in kosher canned goods to The Cupboard on December 3, 2019. #KosherCupboard

The Movember Foundation

 

ePromos also made a donation to The Movember Foundation – because we believe not only in their powerful message surrounding men’s health but, at the same time, we believe fundraising and awareness-building can be fun!

We created an internal challenge at ePromos – who could grow the greatest ‘stach while raising awareness for men’s health in the process. Much fun for such a worthy cause! Here were the rules:

Rules of Movember

Great job, gentlemen – and thank you to everyone who participated and supported our month of giving.

 


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Helping Families Cope with Childhood Cancer: Julie’s Story


Julie Gray is an Order Resolution Specialist for ePromos. Learn more about her journey as the mom of a cancer survivor and the ways we’re honoring Tanner’s Team Foundation this month via our ePromos for Good and #ePromos Cares programs.

Early Warnings

In March of 2013, Julie Gray’s son, Nate, started waking up in the middle of the night with stomachaches. For most parents of young children, this would be nothing out of the ordinary, but Julie was immediately on alert. “As a baby – really since the first week he was born – Nate slept through the night, so this was unusual,” she explains. In a matter of days, the Grays added a handful of new symptoms to the list: their five-year-old seemed exhausted, was barely eating and wasn’t acting like himself.

Thinking it was a virus, Julie and her husband, Tano tried OTC remedies and gave Nate’s symptoms time to pass, but nothing seemed to work. Instead, they wound up in the ER. After a follow-up phone call to Nate’s pediatrician, it was suggested he immediately be admitted to the hospital for additional tests.

The results of those tests sent the family to the oncology department of Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, nearly two hours from where they live in St. Cloud. “We were so sleep deprived at that point and still expecting some sort of viral situation,” Julie recalls, “so it took me a minute to really process what the doctors were saying: There was a chance our five-year-old had cancer.”

Road to Recovery

After a biopsy, the Grays learned Nate had lymphoma. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, Hodgkin’s lymphoma accounts for approximately 6 percent of all childhood cancers, while non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma comprises an additional 5%. Nate’s oncologist, Dr. Sencer, described the family’s situation like this, “We’re down in this game by 27 points, but we didn’t know what game we were playing, and now we do. And we’re going to win.”

Nate’s medical team opted for a strictly chemotherapy-based protocol, with treatment administered between Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and a satellite clinic in St. Cloud. Over the next several months, Nate endured more than 15 chemo treatments, a spinal tap, blood transfusions, a daily regimen of pills and installation of a port-a-cath, among other interventions.

An Outpouring of Support

“During this process of Nate’s illness and recovery,” Julie recounts, “we received a lot of help.” Support came in many forms, including a fundraiser benefit put on by ePromos, the Grays’ church, her husband’s job and a GoFundMe campaign, as well as from friends, neighbors and strangers across their entire community. One significant local organization that jumped in as a resource for the Grays was Tanner’s Team Foundation. The nonprofit was created in 2011 to provide financial assistance to families in Central Minnesota with children who have a life-threatening illness. The foundation honors Tanner Fuls, who passed away in 2010 from Myelodysplastic Syndrome at 11 years old.

 

“Because of how much we were traveling between St. Cloud and Children’s, there was a lot of wear and tear on our family van,” Julie says. “In response, Tanner’s Team supplied us with new tires.” Tanner’s father also attended the ePromos benefit, which took place at the Eagles Club in St. Cloud and raised funds with karaoke, a spaghetti dinner and a silent auction.

“In June of 2014, after Nate’s last dose of treatment, we found out everything came back clear,” Julie explains. “There were no levels of concern, and we only needed six-month follow-up appointments. Currently we’re at yearly blood checks.”

Nate is now 12 years old and thriving. He loves tabletop gaming, gaming on his PS4 and playing soccer (especially goalkeeper). “He has good grades and is sociable,” Julie shares, “which I think stems from his life-changing experience. He’s a born salesman – who genuinely wants to learn about people, what they do and how things work.”

Giving Back


In honor of Julie, Nate and the Gray family, as well as Tanner Fuls and all the families in Minnesota with children who have faced or are facing life-threatening illnesses, we’ve created a month-long fundraiser to support Tanner’s Team Foundation. This #ePromosCares campaign launched November 1, 2019, as local and national efforts ramped up for #GivingTuesday. In addition, we’ll also be providing $500 worth of promotional products for the foundation’s upcoming 10th Anniversary Walk/Run event next summer through our ePromos for Good initiative.

Julie shares, “These events are not something I would have been able to be a part of when our family was going through treatment – it was too raw and too new. To be able to go back now and help families who are just starting this process means a lot.”

Support Tanner’s Team Foundation with a donation here, or learn more about ePromos for Good.